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Liu named Wyoming Excellence Chair in Climate Science at UW

May 1, 2013
Xiaohong Liu has been named Wyoming Excellence Chair in Climate Science and professor in the UW Department of Atmospheric Science. (M. Wang Photo)

An internationally recognized scientist in climate modeling, aerosol-cloud reactions and aerosol modeling is the newest endowed chair at the University of Wyoming.

Xiaohong Liu has been named Wyoming Excellence Chair in Climate Science and professor in UW’s Department of Atmospheric Science. Liu will begin his appointment at UW Aug. 1. He currently is senior research scientist at the Atmospheric Science and Global Change Division of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, located in Richland, Wash.

The 2006 Wyoming Legislature established the Excellence in Higher Education Endowment, which included a $70 million endowment for the creation of senior faculty positions for highly distinguished scholars and educators at UW. The legislation states that the endowed positions must expand university instruction and research in disciplines related to economic and social challenges facing Wyoming.

The UW Wyoming Excellence chairs are nationally and internationally recognized leaders in their fields.

“He was chosen for his exceptional research on modeling of atmospheric aerosols, and their direct and indirect effects on global and regional climate,” Al Rodi, head of the UW Department of Atmospheric Science, says of Liu. “His work on cloud microphysics and cloud-aerosol interactions has been implemented in several major climate models for the assessment and projection of climate change.”

Because Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain region receive a significant amount of their water resources from snowpack, the region is vulnerable to climate change, Liu says. He adds he is interested in the impact of human activities on snow packs, rainfall and snowfall; and climate extremes due to greenhouse gases and forest fires.

“The Yellowstone high-performance computer at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center provides the access to the tremendous resources for simulating the complex cloud and precipitation processes, and for exploring the climate change at both the regional and global scales,” Liu says. “As a modeler, the University of Wyoming, with its strengths in atmospheric measurements, offers me the opportunity of close collaboration with observers to effectively improve the climate models.”

Liu edits the journal “Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics” and has served as a guest professor at Nanjing University in China and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing, China, where he advises doctoral students.

He has received numerous awards and honors, including Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Exceptional Contribution Program Award and Outstanding Performance Award; the World Meteorological Society’s Young Scientist Award and its Mariolopoulos-Kanaginis Award (honorable mention) for papers in atmospheric environmental research; the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at Fraunhofer Institute for Atmospheric Environmental Research, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; and was elected into the “100 Talent Program” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Liu has secured more than $33 million in grant funding for research, according to his vita.

Liu is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society and Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.

He received his doctorate and master’s degree in atmospheric science, and his bachelor’s degree in atmospheric physics, all from Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.

“The addition of Dr. Liu to the UW faculty, as one of the Wyoming Excellence chair holders, represents an even stronger commitment by the Department of Atmospheric Science to the university’s partnership with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR),” says Myron Allen, UW provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It also represents a bright future for the College of Engineering and Applied Science in computational science and engineering -- one of the areas of teaching and research emphasized in UW’s strategic plan.”

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